The city of Mobile has approved a contract to spend $18,000 on a July 4 fireworks display. (File photo)

The Mobile City Council has approved an $18,561 contract for the city’s July 4 fireworks display, an amount that’s about the same as last year – but which apparently won’t be offset by major sponsorships this year.

In July 2016, the council approved a contract for $18,554 with Pyrotechnico Fireworks, the same company that will handle this year’s display. But the city didn’t have to pay the full amount, as a bank had contributed $1,500 and a shoe retailer had contributed more than $5,000.

Discussing this year’s contract, which was sponsored by Mayor Sandy Stimpson, council members expressed regret that there were no sponsors this time around. “It was a nice partnership,” District 6 Councilwoman Bess Rich said at the organizational session that preceded Tuesday’s meeting. District 4 Councilman John Williams said that while the city certainly can welcome sponsorships, there’s little it can do to actively court them.

Laura Byrne, a member of Stimpson’s staff, said via e-mail that it is against the law for the city’s merit system employees to solicit sponsorships or conduct fundraising efforts.

Sponsorships aren’t just scarce in Mobile. In Florence, Shoals Radio Group recently cancelled the city’s long-running Spirit of Freedom Celebration because of a dearth of funding partners.

At its Tuesday evening meeting, the council passed the 2017 fireworks contract with five votes in favor. District 2 Councilman Levon Manzie had been called away from the meeting prior to the vote, and Rich abstained.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Stimpson encouraged Mobilians to enjoy “an evening of patriotic music, picnicking and fireworks” at Battleship Park on July 4.

“The City of Mobile will carry on its longstanding tradition of painting the sky red, white and blue on Independence Day,” said Stimpson. “It’s a representation of our City’s unbroken patriotism and a symbol of our commitment to honoring those who have served and those who continue to protect our families and our freedom.”

According to information released by the mayor’s office, park gates will open for parking at 5 p.m. Tuesday, with admission set at $5 per car. (The park itself will be open throughout the day at normal rates.) A Mobile Pops performance will begin at 7 p.m. with fireworks celebration to follow at 9 p.m. Onlookers are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, but glass containers, grills and alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Boaters must stay at least 750 feet from the fireworks barge and the battleship.

Jamie Lee Wallace was sentenced to 25 years Monday, November 7, 2011, for killing mother and attempting to kill grandfather (The Birmingham News/Tamika Moore)
The toll plaza at the Foley Beach Express bridge on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. The plaza’s owner, American Roads LLC, announced Wednesday that they will temporarily drop toll fares from $3.50 to $2.75 through Labor Day weekend. (John Sharp/

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